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The Empire

how to link school funding and the economy

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It's not easy to call for spending cuts and spending bursts in the same speech.

But spokesman Carl Korn of the state's teachers union does a good job hitching his group's top priority (protection education aid) to Governor Cuomo's (bolstering the state's economy).

Referring to a computer chip company building a plant in Saratoga - just outside of Albany - Korn told me, "Wouldn't it be ironic if...when this latest generation computer chip manufacturing plant opens up, the [company is] forced to go to other states or other nations to hire their engineers because our public schools are cut so deeply that they're not turning out students with the skills that they need to fill those jobs?"

Korn declined to discuss what preparations, if any, the unions has in the works for Governor Cuomo's budget presentation next week, which many are expecting to be quite painful.

"No decisions" have been made, he said.